Billy Napier has done a great job of bringing in talent over the last two cycles to shape the Gators' roster in his image and he has been able to do that at almost every position. Except for Napier's one Achilles heel, which has been the quarterback position. But when you break it down, it really isn't his fault.
Napier was given a gift from Dan Mullen when he inherited Anthony Richardson as his starting quarterback. However, since the end of the 2022 season, the Gators' quarterback room has been a revolving door of players exiting and entering for different reasons. Richardson declared for the NFL draft, Jalen Kitna was arrested and dismissed from the program, former 2023 commit Marcus Stokes has his offer revoked after a video of him using a racial slur emerged, and everyone is familiar with the Jaden Rashada saga that ended with Rashada enrolling at Arizona State.
Needless to say, Napier has been dealt bad hand after bad hand with his quarterback room.
That brings us to Wisconsin transfer quarterback Graham Mertz. When speaking about the process that led to bringing Mertz to Gainesville, Napier said that the program evaluated 24 different quarterbacks. The Rashada situation seems to have been independent of bringing in a signal caller from the transfer portal, as Rashada would have given the Gators four scholarship quarterbacks. That number is consistent with other FBS programs' quarterback rooms.
The Orange and Blue are now left with just three scholarship quarterbacks, two of which arrived in Gainesville via the transfer portal. While Gator Nation waits for DJ Lagway to arrive on campus in 2024, Napier will have to bring in another transfer, just to have enough depth to feel comfortable throughout the season. Napier even said as much, mentioning that the Gators would look for another signal caller when the portal opens up again in May.
Regardless of who Florida decides to bring in, the starting job for 2023 is expected to be a two-man race between Mertz and former Ohio State transfer Jack Miller. Miller was the starter in Florida's 30-3 loss to Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire